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For Comets Boys, Too Little, Too Late

The season has ended for the Halifax County High School baseball team.

Playing here last night in a Western Valley District Tournament semi-final game, the Comets scored three runs in the final inning, but fell to Patrick Henry High School 6-5, knocking the Comets out of an opportunity to advance to next week’s Northwest Region Tournament.

“We had a great season, but, unfortunately, we were in this situation,” said Comets head coach Kelvin Davis.

“We put ourselves in this situation. My hat goes off to the PH club. They were up for this game and did the things they needed to do.”

With last night’s win, the Patriots advanced to Thursday night’s district tournament championship game. Their opponent will be regular-season champion Franklin County High School, which defeated GW 6-1 in last night’s other district tournament semi-final game.

The win also gave the Patriots the district’s second seed for the Northwest Region Tournament, which opens Monday.

Last night the Patriots showed yet another time that they seemingly have the Comets’ number when it comes to playing here at Halifax County High School. The Patriots upset the Comets here in last year’s district tournament semifinals, handed the Comets an 8-6 loss here earlier this season and defeated the Comets here again last night.

“With some teams that you play, it just seems that way,” Davis remarked.

“It seems they get up and play us hard every single time we meet. They have a great team. It was just unfortunate for us tonight.

The Comets (15-4 overall) were in deep trouble, trailing 6-2 entering the bottom of the final inning. But, they attempted to make a game of it in their final turn at the plate.

Joe Martin led off the inning with a walk and pinch runner Markee Brooks scored on a one-out double by Kelvin Davis Jr. Halifax County’s rally continued with a two-out double by Scott Rickman that plated Davis to make the score 6-4. A double by Tyler Long to left field scored Rickman to bring the Comets to within a run at 6-5 with two out.

The Patriots brought Zach Whitaker to the mound at that point to relieve starting pitcher Burton. Whitaker got exactly what he and the Patriots needed when Luke Griles sent an easy popup to first base that PH nabbed for the final out.

Halifax County’s last-ditch rally was not enough to undo the damage that occurred when the Patriots took advantage of two Comets errors in the top of the seventh inning to key a three-run inning that would ultimately serve to put the game out of the Comets’ reach.

Leading 3-2, the Patriots scored two runs on a Comets error to extend their lead to 5-2. A base hit by Austin Dillard scored another run to put the Patriots comfortably in front with a 6-2 lead, three runs of which the Comets managed to melt away in the bottom of the inning.

The Comets used the long ball to stake themselves to a 2-0 lead on a two-run homer by Rickman in the top of the first inning. However, the Comets’ lead slipped away when the Patriots plated a pair of runs in the top of the third inning to deadlock the game at 2-2.

Struggling on the mound, Long, the Comets starting pitcher, walked Brit Dunnavant with one out and then struck Whitaker with a pitch. With two out, and relief hurler Aron Puryear on the hill, Burton walked to load the bases. Cameron King walked to force in a run and Dillard followed with a run-scoring hit that deadlocked the game.
Patrick Henry scored in the top of the sixth inning on a run-scoring double by Brad Sowers to take a 3-2 lead.

The Comets appeared to be on the cusp of answering it after Long, the leadoff batter in the inning, walked. Long moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Griles and scampered to third base when William Worley flied out to centerfield for the second out of the inning. Long was left stranded at third base when Ryan Puryear grounded out to end the inning.

Halifax County had eight hits in the game with Trent, Rickman and Long getting two hits each. Davis and Zach Clem each had one hit.

Patrick Henry had nine hits in the game.